Khalid Shamis

Delighted to announce this project that has kept me linked with my Libyan heritage for so long and has allowed me deeper .understandings of Baba and his lifelong dreams is completed and is having its premiere at @hotdocs_ in April 2021

An interview about the film in 2014


When Colonel Gadaffi’s dream was made manifest in 1969, Ashur Shamis’ dream for Libya began. The founder members of the major opposition to Gadaffi in exile, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL), had a set of ideals that they tried and failed to .implement over the dictator’s 40-year rule

Ashur’s choices had a historical dimension but they also placed a nation against the intimate reality of a family. As a father his children would be watching Rambo in the lounge of their suburban London home while Ashur was plotting the overthrow of Gadaffi from his study. Khalid was 5 when he first saw his father on television, he knew it was him because he knew his voice, but his name wasn’t on the screen and .his image was in silhouette

After Gadaffi’s demise – and more than 4 decades in exile – Ashur rushed back to the old country. He was resolved to work with the new government who found themselves mired in the politics of a power vacuum. While Ashur is away, Khalid, takes the chance to explore his father’s London study without him. Khalid uncovers remnants of a past he lived through but knew little about. Old cassette tapes sent to his .father from his family in Libya contain messages of love, numerous passports, maps, books and newsletters on Libya

Because of his life outside of the country, Ashur wasn’t trusted by the local Libyans and had to leave again in 2014; defeated by what the new country has become without him in the void of a dictator. Khalid takes the opportunity to question his father about the past and for the .first time in his life, Ashur begins to reveal all

Ashur now looks back from his study. He’s back in the place in which he spent most of his adult life, working towards this freedom. Was it .all worth it? The secrets, lies and espionage, the danger and absence, the constant threat of death around every corner

This is a story of a father and freedom fighter, absent to his family while dedicating his life to. A son who was distant from his .father grows closer over the unfolding of history and the understanding of his father’s choices


About the Director

Having worked in the film industries of the UK, Middle East and Southern Africa, Khalid Shamis now runs Tubafilms, his own production company, from Cape Town. Shamis has lectured at the WITS University in Johannesburg, holds the South African Guild of Editors acronym .and has acquired numerous awards for his work. His feature-length documentary, ‘Imam and I’ (2011), received critical acclaim

Production Company Profile

Led by Khalid Shamis, Tubafilms is a Cape Town-based production company dedicated to documentary filmmaking in Africa and the Middle East. The company takes projects on board from conception, taking them through development, post-production, broadcast and specific delivery. Tubafilms recognises the continent’s need to nurture storytelling via visual media, and our philosophy is that the art of structure and story is that of death and rebirth. Productions to date include Shamis’s award-winning short film ‘The Killing of the Imam’ (2010), which was named Best South African Short Film at the South African Film and Television Awards, and his feature-length documentary ‘Imam and I’ .(2011), which won the Encounters International South African Documentary Festival Audience Award


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